On The Scene

Published on September 25th, 2013 | by Chase Larson


Diana Krall: 5 Reasons To See Today’s Biggest Jazz Artist Live

Canadian born-and-raised sultry songstress Diana Krall has done what few contemporary jazz musicians in recent memory have been able to — stay current and consistent. With two Grammy awards under her belt and $15 million albums sold worldwide, including eight that debuted at the top of the Billboard charts, no one can question her success so far. SOUND had the chance to catch Krall in concert at Salt Lake City’s Kingsbury Hall on Tuesday, in a standing-ovation garnering performance that helped us define what makes her so special.

1) Stage Presence

From the elegant style of her genre to the idea of a cool, jazz demeanor, few would guess Diana Krall’s show to be so intimate and funny with her well-honed, dry and self-deprecating humor. Between glimpses into her childhood in British Columbia to the birth of her love for vintage music to the struggles of putting her kids to bed (with musician husband Elvis Costello) to outlining various therapeutic uses for alcohol, the audience felt less like an outsider and more like a good friend being entrusted with earned information.

2) Throwback Vibe

While her past music has been reminiscent of the classic jazz we love from the Sinatra era, Krall’s latest record is a dive into a 1920’s Vaudeville show filled with humor, mischief and nostalgia. Including clips of Betty Boop cartoons, Groucho Marx performances and a campy cameo by Steve Buscemi in Charlie Chaplin garb looping in the background doesn’t hurt either.

3) Piano Chops

We always expect a big musician’s backing band to possess the kind of music chops that allows them to be, well, a big musician’s backing band. However, pleasantly surprising is her own complete command of the piano, including impressive arrangements, solo improvisation and, at one point, even taking impromptu audience requests that made the stage feel more casual like a dimly-lit speakeasy.

4) Eclectic, Talented Band

Which leads us to our next point: her band is incredibly talented and engagingly eclectic. A distorted fiddle, strummed ukulele, assorted percussive instruments and Wurlitzer not only gave the performance an old-timey feel but added color to the more straightforward numbers. Not to mention brought to life a unexpected, visceral cover of Tom Waits’ “Temptation.”

5) Voice

It’s the moneymaker, plain and simple. Soft, smoky and pronounced, her sensuous tone and unique phrasings are what has made her so popular and so enduring.

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About the Author

is the founder of SOUND. He has written for Men’s Journal, Deseret News, Daily Herald, Rhombus and worked as an editor at the The Daily Universe. When he’s not involved in one of the aforementioned pursuits, he sleeps. Very well. Follow him on Twitter at @chasemlarson, Google+ or at his website ChaseLarson.com.

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